A retired attorney in Virginia Beach is so incensed that Republicans couldn't repeal the Affordable Care Act he's suing to get political donations back, accusing the GOP of fraud and racketeering.
Bob Heghmann, 70, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court saying the national and Virginia Republican parties and some GOP leaders raised millions of dollars in campaign funds while knowing they weren't going to be able to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
The GOP "has been engaged in a pattern of Racketeering which involves massive fraud perpetrated on Republican voters and contributors as well as some Independents and Democrats," the suit said. Racketeering, perhaps better known for use in prosecuting organized crime, involves a pattern of illegal behavior by a specific group.
The lawsuit lists as defendants the Republican National Committe and Virginia's two national GOP committee members, Morton Blackwell and Cynthia Dunbar, as well as the Republican Party of Virginia and state party Chairman John Whitbeck.
In an email, Blackwell dismissed Heghmann's complaint as a "frivolous, nuisance suit that should be thrown out of court by any judge."
In a separate email Dunbar sent to Blackwell that was forwarded to The Virginian-Pilot, Dunbar referred to it as "ridiculous."
But at the same time, both said they understood where Heghmann was coming from. Blackwell said the suit is a "sign of conservative anger that the Republican-controlled Congress has not yet repealed and replaced Obamacare."
He argued that "progressives" had taken over the Democratic Party, and seemed to lament that "conservatives" had not yet taken over the Republican Party.
"Too few conservatives are willing to invest their time, talent, and money and personally participate inside the Republican Party," Blackwell said. "A Republican majority will mean a conservative majority if and when a sufficient number of conservatives figure out why the success of their principles depends on their personal involvement in local, state, and national Republican Party committees and in party nomination contests."
A spokesman for the state party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Heghmann's suit comes a week after the Senate failed by one vote to approve a bill to repeal and replace the ACA.
It argues that the national GOP raised more than $735 million and Virginia's party more than $20 million from 2009 to 2016 in large part by promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act.